When is the best time to visit Tokyo? An insider's guide to the city's seasons

By Ryuichi Hayashi

February 20, 2024

Discover the best time to visit Tokyo

  • Spring in Tokyo
  • Summer in Tokyo
  • Autumn in Tokyo
  • Winter in Tokyo
  • Special considerations

Hey, I'm Ryuichi Hayashi, a Tokyo local for over a decade and your guide to uncovering the heart of this incredible city. Born in Yokohama and a resident of Tokyo for 14 years, I've come to know every twist and turn of this vibrant metropolis. Through my eyes, you'll see Tokyo not just as a destination but as a collage of experiences, each painted differently by the changing seasons.

Whether you're longing to witness the delicate dance of cherry blossoms in the spring or the electrifying buzz of summer festivals, I'm here to guide you through the best times to embark on your Tokyo tours. My mission? To help you weave your own Tokyo tale, one that resonates with the city's rhythm and your travel desires. Let's embark on a journey through Tokyo's seasons and find the perfect moment for your adventure in this city of endless discovery.

Spring in Tokyo

(Late March to May)

When is the best time to visit Tokyo?

Cherry blossom season season in Tokyo

Cherry blossoms (Sakura)

Spring in Tokyo, particularly from early March to early April, heralds a time of enchantment as cherry blossoms, or sakura, drape the city in a delicate pink hue. For us Tokyoites, sakura isn't just a beautiful spectacle; it's a deeply ingrained symbol of transience and renewal, revered through centuries.

What are the best spots for cherry blossom viewing? Ueno Park bursts into a canopy of pink, creating a surreal tunnel of blossoms, while the Imperial Palace's surroundings offer a serene backdrop for the Sakura season. Shinjuku Gyoen is another must-visit, where cherry blossom trees frame the Tokyo skyline, merging urbanity with nature's fleeting beauty.

Feel the most comfortable average temperature in Tokyo


Spring's embrace in Tokyo brings with it mild weather, usually averaging around 59°F. This period is perfect for outdoor activities, offering a respite from both the winter's chill and summer's impending humidity.

It's a time when a light jacket is all you need to wander through Tokyo's winding streets or relax in its verdant parks, such as Ukima Park. The weather also complements the Sakura viewing, as the gentle climate adds to the overall soothing experience of Hanami — flower viewing parties under the cherry blossoms.

Explose sakura season and spring events with local in T


This season is rich with events. Hanami parties, where families and friends gather under cherry blossom trees, are a quintessential part of Tokyo's spring. During the first week of May, Golden Week brings a festive spirit, although it's one of the busiest times due to several national holidays.

Tokyo also hosts various spring festivals that showcase traditional Japanese culture, from food to performing arts. As a local, I always find joy in these festivals, as they mark a period of celebration and togetherness.

Beautiful spring in Tokyo

Pros and cons

Spring in Tokyo, while undoubtedly beautiful, comes with its own set of considerations. The allure of cherry blossoms attracts many travelers, making it a popular time to visit Tokyo. This popularity can lead to crowded spots, especially in famous parks and shrines like the Kanda Shrine.

Accommodation prices may also peak during this season. However, the charm of Tokyo during Sakura season is undeniable. It's a wonderful time to experience the city's poetic side, balancing the bustle with moments of serene beauty.

Spring in Tokyo isn't just a season; it's a vibrant chapter of the city's life, inviting everyone to partake in its ephemeral beauty. Whether it's your first time or your tenth, the experience of spring here never fails to captivate.

So, if you're planning to visit Tokyo and wonder when the best time to visit is, consider aligning your Tokyo trip with the spring, a season that truly transforms the city.

Summer in Tokyo

(June to August)

Summer months are the best time to visit Tokyo

Tourists with Local in summer Tokyo


Summer in Tokyo is a vivid tapestry of hot, humid days, often starting in June. The early part of the season ushers in the rainy season, locally known as tsuyu, bringing sporadic showers and a verdant freshness to the cityscape.

Daytime temperatures frequently climb into the high seventies and even eighties (Fahrenheit), making it essential to stay hydrated and cool. It's a time of dramatic weather shifts – from the refreshing rainfalls of early summer to the intense, sun-drenched days of late July and August. This weather pattern, while challenging, adds a unique dynamism to Tokyo's summer months.

Vibrant Tokyo's summer festivals


Tokyo's summer is synonymous with its vibrant festivals. In early July, the Tanabata Festival fills the streets with colorful streamers, representing star-crossed lovers' wishes in a celestial tale. August brings the awe-inspiring Sumida River Fireworks, a tradition that lights up the night sky with dazzling displays.

And let's not forget the traditional Bon Odori dances, where local communities gather in a spirited celebration of ancestral spirits. These festivals embody the energetic pulse of Tokyo during summer, offering a glimpse into its rich cultural tapestry.

The best sunny days activities in Tokyo


When the summer weather begins, Tokyo transforms into a playground for both locals and visitors. The city's beaches, like Odaiba, have become popular retreats, offering a blend of sandy relaxation and picturesque views of the Rainbow Bridge.

Tokyo's parks, lush and green, are perfect for a leisurely day out or a picnic under the shade of trees. Additionally, exploring the bustling streets of neighborhoods like Shibuya or Shinjuku offers a more urban experience of summer in Tokyo, with each area offering its unique charm.

Enjoy Tokyo's summer energy with a local

Pros and cons

Summer in Tokyo is a time of energy and vibrancy, but it also brings its challenges. The heat and humidity can be intense, especially for those not accustomed to such conditions. This is a peak season for tourism so popular spots can get crowded, and prices may be higher.

However, the lively atmosphere of summer festivals and the joy of sunny days create unforgettable experiences. If you're considering when to visit Tokyo, summer promises a dynamic, lively, and culturally rich experience, albeit with a need for some extra planning for the weather.

During summer, Tokyo unfolds a spectrum of experiences, from tranquil mornings after a night of rain to lively evenings touring Shinjuku that are filled with festival music and laughter. It's a season that invites you to immerse yourself in the city's heartbeat to enjoy Tokyo in all its sunlit glory. For those planning to visit Tokyo in the summer, it's an invitation to be part of something truly special – a season when the city is at its most vibrant.

Autumn in Tokyo

(September to November)

Colorful fall leaves in Tokyo's parks in autumn

Autumn foliage in Japanese capital

Autumn foliage (Koyo)

As early September ushers in autumn, Tokyo transforms into a canvas of warm colors. The Koyo, or autumn foliage, paints the city in vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. The transformation is stunning, especially in places like Rikugien Gardens, where the intricate landscaping accentuates the beauty of fall leaves.

Another favorite spot of mine is Yoyogi Park, where the vastness allows for a serene walk under the kaleidoscope of colors. The Imperial Palace's East Garden is also a spectacle, offering a blend of historical grandeur with the natural splendor of koyo. For those who visit Tokyo during this season, these spots offer a tranquil retreat from the bustling city life.

Enjoy Tokyo under rain with a local host


Autumn in Tokyo brings the much-awaited relief from summer's humidity. The weather becomes increasingly comfortable, with temperatures gently dropping to the pleasant range of high sixties to low seventies (Fahrenheit).

Rainfall decreases significantly, making it ideal for exploring the city. The mild weather is perfect for long walks in the city's parks or along its historic streets. The clear, crisp air not only enhances the autumn experience but also makes outdoor activities and sightseeing more enjoyable.

Autumn is the most wonderful and the best time to visit


In autumn, Tokyo is not just about the stunning foliage; it's also a season rich in cultural events and food festivals. The Kanda Matsuri, one of Tokyo's three major Shinto festivals, takes place in mid-November, featuring a parade with elaborately decorated mikoshi (portable shrines).

Additionally, food festivals like the Tokyo Ramen Show in late October offer a chance to savor various regional flavors of this iconic dish. These events are a testament to Tokyo's vibrant culture, providing an authentic experience for both locals and visitors.

Tokyo's beautiful scenery and pleasant weather

Pros and cons

While autumn is undoubtedly one of the best times to visit Tokyo, with its beautiful scenery and pleasant weather, it's also a popular time for tourists, especially during the peak foliage periods in late November.

This popularity can mean certain viewing spots get crowded. However, the trade-off is well worth it. The city's breathtaking fall foliage, combined with comfortable weather and a rich tapestry of events, offers an unparalleled experience. For those planning to visit Tokyo in autumn, it's a magical time to experience the city's quieter, more reflective side, set against a backdrop of vivid autumnal hues.

Autumn in Tokyo is a season of change and reflection, a time when the city shows off its quieter yet profoundly beautiful side. It's a perfect season for those who seek a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and comfortable exploration.

As a local, I find autumn to be one of the most rewarding times to enjoy Tokyo, and I invite you to experience this enchanting season for yourself.

For a unique autumn experience in Tokyo, skip the crowded hotspots and explore smaller parks like Koishikawa Korakuen or Rikugien. These lesser-known areas offer stunning fall scenery with fewer tourists.

Winter in Tokyo

(December to February)

Winter time to visit Tokyo

Tokyo's winter spectacular illuminations

Winter illuminations

In winter, Tokyo transforms into a twinkling fairyland thanks to the spectacular illuminations that adorn the city. Among these, the Marunouchi Illumination near Tokyo Station offers a dazzling display of lights, creating a magical atmosphere that enchants every visitor.

Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination is another must-see, where the play of lights and shadows brings a new perspective to the urban landscape. These illuminations not only add warmth to the shorter days but also provide a unique way to experience the city's beauty at night. For those planning to visit Tokyo in winter, these light displays are a delightful treat that should not be missed.

Temperature in Tokyo in winter


Winter in Tokyo is relatively mild, especially when compared to the more severe winters of northern Japan. The average temperature hovers around 40-50°F, occasionally dipping lower. Light snowfall can occur, transforming the city into a serene, snowy wonderland.

This milder winter weather is ideal for exploring the city without the extreme cold that can hamper travel plans. A cozy jacket is sufficient to keep you comfortable as you wander through Tokyo's winter landscape.

Winter in Tokyo with heartwarming events and traditions


Winter in Tokyo is also a season of heartwarming events and traditions. The New Year celebration, or shogatsu, is the most significant, with many locals visiting shrines for Hatsumode, the year's first prayer. The city comes alive with various winter festivals, offering traditional food and cultural performances.

Shopping enthusiasts will enjoy the New Year sales, a great opportunity to find deals on a wide range of items. These events provide a glimpse into the traditional side of Tokyo, making winter an ideal time to experience the city's rich culture.

Indoor attractions in Tokyo in winter season

Pros and cons

Winter in Tokyo, while offering unique experiences and fewer tourists, comes with the challenge of colder weather. However, the crisp air and clear skies often provide a different kind of beauty to the city, especially when the snow gently blankets the temples and gardens - the Adachi City Agriculture Park is quite the sight.

Indoor attractions like museums, galleries, and shopping centers offer comfortable alternatives to outdoor activities. Winter in Tokyo can be a serene and intimate experience, allowing visitors to enjoy Tokyo in a quieter, more relaxed setting.

Winter in Tokyo brings its own charm, with sparkling lights, cultural festivities, and a quieter atmosphere. It's a season that offers a different perspective of the city - one that is calmer yet equally captivating.

For those looking to visit Tokyo and experience its distinct seasons, winter presents an opportunity to see a more subdued yet equally enchanting side of the city.

Special considerations

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Travel costs

When planning to visit Tokyo, budgeting is key, as costs can vary significantly across different seasons. Spring, especially during cherry blossom season, sees a surge in flight and accommodation prices due to its popularity. Summer, with its array of festivals and warmer weather, also experiences a peak in tourism, which can reflect in higher costs, particularly around Obon week in mid-August.

In contrast, autumn, while still popular for its fall foliage, offers a slight dip in prices as the season progresses. Winter often presents the most budget-friendly option, with lower travel and accommodation costs, except around New Year when prices can spike. For the savvy traveler, booking in advance and seeking out off-peak travel dates can lead to substantial savings. Additionally, exploring local dining options and engaging in free activities like park visits or walks through neighborhoods like Shimokitazawa can help keep expenses in check.

Discover the best time to visit Tokyo by walking with a


The density of tourists in Tokyo varies, influencing the overall experience. Spring, particularly during the cherry blossom season, attracts many visitors, making iconic spots like Ueno Park and Asakusa quite crowded. The summer months, brimming with vibrant festivals, also draw large crowds, adding to the lively atmosphere but also resulting in busier streets and attractions.

Autumn is slightly less crowded, but popular foliage spots can still get busy, especially on weekends. Winter, except for the New Year period, sees the fewest tourists, offering a more relaxed experience for sightseeing and dining. This can be a great time for those who prefer a quieter visit to Tokyo, allowing a more intimate exploration of the city.

Autumn is the time for koyo

Unique experiences

Each season in Tokyo offers unique experiences that cater to diverse interests. Spring is renowned for its cherry blossoms, with Hanami parties being a quintessential activity. Summer is marked by energetic festivals like Tanabata and Bon Odori, alongside enjoying Tokyo's urban beaches.

Autumn is the time for koyo, or leaf-peeping, in the city's numerous gardens and sampling seasonal delicacies like sweet potatoes and chestnuts. Winter, though cooler, dazzles with illuminations and offers traditional experiences like visiting onsens (hot springs) and enjoying oden (a type of hot pot). These distinct seasonal activities provide unique reasons to visit Tokyo at different times of the year, each offering a different slice of Tokyo life.

When planning to visit Tokyo, these special considerations play a crucial role in shaping your experience. From managing travel costs to navigating through crowds and embracing unique seasonal activities, each aspect adds to the tapestry of your Tokyo trip. Remember, Tokyo is a city of contrasts and surprises, and each season brings its own flavor and charm, waiting to be discovered and cherished.

As we've journeyed through the distinct seasons of Tokyo, it's clear that each brings its unique charm and array of experiences. Spring in Tokyo is a celebration of renewal, marked by the iconic cherry blossoms and festive events like Golden Week, although it's also a peak season for visitors.

Summer offers a vibrant blend of festivals and outdoor activities, tempered by Tokyo's rainy season and its humid climate. Autumn reveals a tranquil side of Tokyo with its stunning fall foliage and milder Tokyo weather, while winter dazzles with illuminations and offers a quieter, more introspective experience of the city.

When considering the best time to visit Tokyo, Japan, it ultimately depends on what experiences you're seeking. For those enchanted by cherry blossoms and who don't mind the crowds, spring, especially around Golden Week, could be ideal.

Summer is perfect for festival enthusiasts who are prepared for the rainy season and humidity. Autumn is a great choice for those who enjoy comfortable weather and colorful scenery, and winter appeals to those looking for a quieter visit and festive lights.

In conclusion, Tokyo offers a rich tapestry of experiences that change with the seasons. Each season has its own appeal, from the lively energy of Golden Week to the peaceful serenity of Tokyo's winter.

When planning your visit, consider what aspects of Tokyo's weather and culture you wish to experience. Remember, the best time to visit Tokyo is when it aligns with your interests and expectations, ensuring a trip that's both memorable and deeply personal.

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